Tazria / Metzora ~ Pesach - Aish Kodesh 04/15/10
Topics RHT-0304, RHT-0305, RHT-0602, RHT-0000, Acquiring Torah, tens, hypocrisy, stories, mistakes, leprosy tzaras, exile, arguing, balance, four sons, Teferet, Yaakov, tests, busyness, discipline, stories, seeking, hamakom, place, Emorites, tumei
The upside down menorah placed on top of the right side up menorah creates three spheres of light; the word sphere originates from these sphereot.
KINYON means acquiring.
In Pirkei Avot, The Ethics of the Fathers, it says that to acquire the Torah you have to minimize your business. There are 48 ways to acquire Torah and the 49th is review.
Halachah means to walk. Walking is halachah, gevurah, good structure, rules, laws. This guarantees hypocrisy. The highest level of praying is loving G*d and there is no love in Gevurah. [trf: I think there must be a little element of love in it or it could not exist.]
In the study guide there is a list of things that come in units of ten, such as the ten plagues, ten utterances which created the world, ten tests of Abraham. You can count the omer using these, but three need to be removed, just as our removing the intellectual sepherot, binah, daas and chuchma.
The most pious people are the most hypocritical. Avoiding speaking loshon horah becomes an excuse to cover up what is going on. Our whole religious is about telling stories. The greatest people make the biggest mistakes. King David made the most mistakes and he is the father of Meshiach.
Exile is an atonement. The longing creates an appreciation for community.
Shmuel said that all fasting is a sin because G*d said to choose life.
The way of acquiring oral Torah is you take two opposing views and synthesize them. In Talmud they never give us the law. They do not want to give us rules. When we argue, we have new thoughts; we leave the world of black or white and enter the world of gray. There is no resolution to the debate. A Jew turns two into one.
This week we are working on chesed, gevurah and Teferet. Too much chesed or too much gevurah leads to murder.
Most Jews are too much on the left side of the brain, analytical thinking. Balance is critical for a healthy person. The cell wall lets in just the right amount of nourishment and expels just the right toxins. G*d is pouring life energy into the world and creation all the time. Balance in nature: we kill off the wolves and the deer population explodes.
THE FOUR SONS
The child on the lowest level is the chuchum, the Wise Son. He is over-intellectual, and he gives all the data to the Rasha (Evil Son); he is at the Well of Hatred and he uses the intellect to separate from others. They are both in the intellect, but the Wise Son is in the intellectual part of the intellect and the Rasha is in the emotional part of the intellect, which is higher. They both turn to the father and say: what does this mean to you? The third son is Yaakov, balance, truth, simple purity; he is the person who says the Shmah. He synthesizes those positions and he can see that both positions are the same. They give birth to the fourth son, who does not have the capacity to ask. He is in the right side of the brain and does not ask analytical questions. He is receptive and his position becomes this is what G*d did for me, showing that he has integrated the teaching into his self rather than just his intellect.
Yaakov knew that if he stayed one more day with Laban, he would become Laban. The Israelites left Egypt hurriedly because if they had stayed one more day they would have become Pharaoh. There are several interpretations about the 4/5ths of the Jews who did not leave mitzrayim: 4/5ths of every person did not leave, which is why they periodically talked about going back. Four fifths of the Israelites died in the darkness and were buried secretly. Four fifths of the Israelites assimilated.
This week we tell stories about Yaakov because he is Teferet and the way to learn Torah is to minimize business. Business is busy-ness; it is competitive and is a distraction from thinking. If we just speak about what happened to the people in the Torah, we are doing loshon horah. But when we put ourselves in the story and talk about it as if it happened to us, we are studying Torah.
Rabbi Hoffman strongly recommends that we divide our life into ten major tests, as Abraham did, and we ask ourselves: what is G*d asking of me now? What is the root of my deficit? What is the discipline necessary for balance?
Where do we see discipline in the life of Yaakov? The answers people in the class gave were:
1. Blessing his children,
2. When he fulfilled the terms of his marriage contracts, even though he was tricked,
3. When he gave everything to Eliphaz, the son of Asav, who had been told to kill him,
4. Leaving Laban, when he made a cairn, which created a strong boundary, as Abraham did when he left home and crossed the river,
5. Staying true to his true love; adversely, staying with the wife he did not love. Leah was his bershert. Every chasson (groom) has to ask himself: am I attracted at the soul level or the kli (vessel, body)? Islam is dealing with violence, Xtianity is dealing with sex and hypocrisy.
6. When he prepared for the confrontation with Asav with appeasement, davening and strategy.
7. Committing to seven more years of work in order to marry Rachel.
8. Transforming from the heel grabber (competition is a trait of the Jews) to G*d Wrestler.
We have a dark side and a good side and we need to join them.
The boundaries around our sex life are the laws of family purity. Also the only times we count days are counting the days of nidah and counting the days of the omer, counting of the days of tzaras.
Gossip is a combination of stories and anger. It is called the poison of death. Rabbi Hoffman tells the story of the elixir of life.
Dorshey is the word of the day, seeking. Last week Moses was seeking and seeking. Aaron would not eat the offering. Moses was seeking the good eye; he knew that criticism is addictive and he knew that he was the gilgul (incarnation) of Abel, and if anger was ignited between brothers, it would never stop.
Sacred Fire, page 82.
The key word to Pesach is HaMakom. I am the place of the uterus. We are trying to create a place for us, a house of trust. Houses, as well as people, can have tazria.
Story: the Aish Kodesh said a man should do something for someone else to battle despair. He survived the war and swept the streets in Israel so that every night he could find someone to help. He told his story to Shlomo Carlebach.
A minute before the Tzimtzum G*d created a void, the womb, a space with love and trust, for us to use as a place to have choice.
Spiritual leprosy, tzaras, disappeared when the level of loshon hara was too high. Tzaras was feedback from HaShem about the spiritual condition of the person, much the same way as the manna that fell a certain significant distance from the tent of a person. Incidentally, I just came across a note on a webpage that loshon hara, evil speech, is actually loshon (speech) ha (the) ra (evil).
Our job is to create a place of trust where people can get physical and spiritual food. This is more important than performing out in the world with an impression job or credentials.
The Emorites: this is from the word emor, speak. Most people speak from the teeth rather than from the heart. We are striving for integration of thought, heart and action. The treasure of speech is speaking from the heart. Our training for doing this is Shabbos because on Shabbos we cannot speak of the past or the future, nor can we criticize.
Tuma is facing your own limitations with shame and humiliation. It is associated death, space, longing. Without tuma there is no intimacy.
In the Warsaw Ghetto the Holocaust was the leperous plague. The benefit to the Jewish people was that they stood up and fought, which changed the minds of the Jewish people, and it created a longing for our own space, Israel.
Prophetic: the book Sacred Fire was hidden in the rubble.
Shabbos is tumei, empty space. The Torah scroll is also tumei, we are not to touch it.
Schmeis is a whip.
Rabbi Henoch Dov teaches in Denver, Colorado. You can contact him through his web page, www.RabbiHenochDov.com or via email email@example.com.
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